Monday, July 30, 2012

A Child's Book of Natural History

A Child's Book of Natural History
Hillary Knight ~ Oliver Herford ~ Margaret Fishback ~ Platt & Munk, 1969

Great to be home! Between crafting obits and walking down memory lane, there wasn't much time for thrifting on my trip back east. But we did manage to visit a few of my favorite vintage book haunts along the way. One of the loveliest books we've discovered in a long while, my son and I found this in an antique shop near Yorktown, Virginia. Every time I stumble across another forgotten Hillary Knight classic, I'm guaranteed a thrill on first read.

The color in this one is simply astounding, bubbling off each page in magenta, sea foam green and chocolate pudding. His pictures are magic, and when you sprinkle in a bit of the animal kingdom, that just seals the deal for the boy and me. The poems are from the children's classic A Child's Primer of Natural History by Victorian-era writer Oliver Herford, tightened up a bit for the times by the poet Margaret Fishback.

The Seal

The Seal can swim. The Seal can Dive.
He think's it's great to be alive.
He likes to catnap in the sun,
Then cruise some more for fish and fun.
With relatives, he loves to race.
He has a pleased, seraphic face.
I watch him, lolling on a reef,
And trust he'll never come to grief.
His fur is soft and warm and sleek --
The kind that grasping hunters seek.
But he would rather bob and float.
Than be some lady's winter coat.

21 poems for 21 animals: dog, cat, mongoose, platypus, rhino, leopard, fly... Remarkable! It's easy to fall in love with Eloise's cousins when they are this vibrant and full of life.

Finding a book like this tucked in a basket among old, rotting coloring books is like gold in my hands.

Also by:
The Circus is Coming
Where's Wallace
Sunday Morning
When I Have a Little Girl


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Great Giveaway, an Anniversary and News!

Hi all...

Thanks for the nice notes and well wishes. I am enjoying some quality time alone with my mother here in Tidewater Virginia. My grandmother had a long, colorful life, and I am lucky to count myself among the people she loved.

I wanted to take a moment to recognize that today marks five years of Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves. It was July 25, 2007 when I wrote my first post on Why I Built The Boogle House. It's been a great ride that saw my son grow from an infant to a full-fledged elementary schooler. As my aptly vandalized childhood copy of Winnie the Pooh states, "Now We Are 7!" I've enjoyed every minute of sharing the books we've loved with you all, and felt a small victory every time a reader was able to reconnect with a long lost love. Thanks to all who've joined us for even a small portion of the ride.

That said, there are going to be some changes here at VKBMKLs. After seven years of staying home with my son, I've decided that it is time for me to go back to work. I've taken a job with a publisher here in Texas, and couldn't be more thrilled with getting back in the game. However, between my own writing and work, that won't leave much time for this blog. But don't fear... I'm making the commitment from here on out to post at least every Monday. I might end of doing more here and there, but rest assured, I'll always be here bright and early Monday mornings to share a book.

I'm afraid this also means the end of the Great Monday Give. Though I will still be hosting giveaways occasionally, the weekly gives will stop.

Case in point, to celebrate these new beginnings, I have a great give sponsored by the incomparable New York Review Books Children's Collection, the best children's reprint house in the biz. A prize package of four great classics: The Backward Day by Ruth Krauss, Three Ladies Beside the Sea by Rhoda Levine and Edward Gorey, Uncle by JP Martin and Quentin Blake, and Pecos Bill. All you have to do to be entered to win this package of awesome is comment on this post between now and Sunday, August 5 at 11:59 PM CT. A winner will be selected at random and posted the next day.

Good luck to all, and in the coming weeks be expecting a surprise awesome interview, more weekly book love, and loads of old favorites to rediscover!


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Julia Farrior Drake - October 5, 1914 - July 17, 2012

Yesterday, my grandmother passed away.
She held my mother's hand, gave the thumbs up, and simply left to play with the merry little breezes.

Tomorrow, I'll be turning 40.

Life moves pretty fast.
If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

See you soon.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Great Monday Give Winner

Happy Monday, all.... In anticipation of my five-year anniversary next week, I will not be doing a give. I do, however, want to announce the winner of last week's give of the Tomi Ungerer classic Crictor.... Drum roll please.... the winner is Linda P!

Congrats and e-mail me your info to webe(at)soon(dot)com.

Next week will be full of special treats, giveaways, and some big news so stay tuned.... I can't believe I've been doing this five years!


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Village Tree

The Village Tree
Taro Yashima ~ Viking, 1953

There is beautiful rain in this part of Texas now, with so many things to so in house. So, I'll make this one short but sweet and full of the colors of summer.

The village where I grew up was on an island far to the south. A river with plenty of water flowed through the middle of the village, and a huge tree stood on its bank. As soon as the summer came, new green leaves came too and began to cover the village, and the river began to float alively. Early every morning cicadas began to chorus all together on the tree and we children could not stay still at home.

The tree serves as the focal point to a rollicking summer of splashing, swimming, fishing, collecting, jumping, tumbling, diving, wrestling, beetle racing... and any number of idyllic memories to write a book about.

Simply stunning.

If you don't know much about the author, I urge you to take a few minutes to read this article in the Japan Times. Taro was an incredible artist and an extraordinary human being. A pacifist, a soldier and an activist, a patriot to both the U.S. and Japan, the father to not one - but two well-known Japanese actors, and the star of his own documentary about the place where he grew up in Japan; a place many readers might recognize from this very story.

Also by:
Crow Boy


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Iron Giant (Man)

The Iron Giant - A Story in Five Nights
Ted Hughes ~ Dirk Zimmer ~ Harper & Row, 1988
originally published as The Iron Man ~ drawings by George Adamson ~ Faber & Faber, 1968

I've done some minor sniffing around since I can across this book at the library the other day. Penned by renowned poet (and one-time husband to Sylvia Plath), it's the original novel that inspired the Brad Bird animated, 1998 film classic, The Iron Giant (one of my all-time favorite animated movies).

Now, some folks on the internet seem to think the title of the book was changed from Man to Giant after the movie was released, but the version I have is from 1988 - ten years before the movie was released - and already there was a shift in the title. Not sure for what reason, but if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to know.

So the story begins...

The Iron Giant came to the top of the cliff. How far had he walked? Nobody knows. Where had he come from? Nobody knows. How was he made? Nobody knows. Taller than a house, the Iron Giant stood at the top of the cliff, on the very brink, in the darkness.

>Originally published in 1968 by Faber & Faber with drawings by George Adamson, the story is told in five chapters that make up five nights. The theme of the book is vaguely similar to that of the film, in that the giant does eat metal and is befriended by Hogarth, a young boy, and is left to live in a junk yard where he can eat scrap metal to his heart's content without causing damage to the town.

However, unlike in the film that is focused on a clear anti-war, anti-gun message, with the bad guys actually being the military itself... here, we find the Giant dismantled and freighted to Australia where he must participate in a battle of the wits with a creature from outer space known as the "space-bat-angel-dragon".

The end still carries an anti-war message when we find out the dragon is really a peace-loving cosmic spirit who ultimately uses his angelic singing voice to lull the people of earth out of their warmongering ways. Far out stuff, man...

The book has been re-illustrated a few times, and while I haven't seen the original version (out of my price range), these black and white etchings by the German-born artist, Dirk Zimmer, are pretty awesome.

Hughes even wrote a sequel called The Iron Woman, published in 1993.

From the Wiki: "The Iron Woman has come to take revenge on mankind for its thoughtless polluting of the seas, lakes and rivers" says the introduction to the novel. It references reverse sexism, in that the iron woman exacts her revenge on a seemingly ignorant/uncaring male community (in the waste disposal plant) for polluting the area in which she lives."

Girl power to the ultimate extreme.


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Great Monday Give: Crictor

Hello all. I hope all you folks stateside had a nice holiday week.

As most of you know, my son is in Spanish immersion school here in Texas, so his English reading has just started to blossom. This summer, the boy has been all about graphic novels and more graphic novels and A to Z Mysteries and Captain Underpants and My Father's Dragon and the shorter Dahl's like The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me and The Enormous Crocodile. Does anyone know any young fiction chapter books that feature birds? Now that he's reading on his own, there's only so many books I can find before I begin to run out of stuff that's actually enjoyable to read. It's that weird space when he's moving out of picture books, but beyond Frog and Toad and Little Bear... but not reading full blown novels. Any ideas on what's good that's NOT Junie B. Jones or The Magic Tree House?

That said, how about another Great Monday Give? Tomi Ungerer's classic Crictor? All you have to do to win an awesome pre-loved paperback copy of this book is comment on this post before July 15, Sunday at 11:59 PM CT. A winner will be selected at random and announced the following morning.

The winner of last week's give of the mystery prize package is... Pen Pals & Picture Books. E-mail me your info to webe(at)soon(dot)com. Congrats!

We'll soon be coming to the five-year anniversary of this blog (has anyone been around since the first Boogle post?), and I have a few things up my sleeve to celebrate. Stay tuned....


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy

Puppies, Pussy Cats and Other Friends

Puppies, Pussy Cats and Other Friends
Gyo Fujikawa ~ Grosset & Dunlap, 1979

It's a Gyo sort of morning here in Texas. One where the oppressive heat broke last night making for a beautiful (albeit humid) rain that drenched and hopefully saved the last traces of spring green. Just the sort of day to sit inside, love on a pet and watch rain drops slide down the window. This one's not my favorite Gyo of all, but still a snugly sentiment full of precious pooches, friendly frogs, and all the darling children you can stomach in one sitting without having a full-blown adorable attack.

Wouldn't you like to have a furry, fuzzy, feathery, or slithery smooth friend?

What child wouldn't, really?

Growing up in America pre-World War II and being born of Japanese parents must not have been easy for Gyo. She was in her early 30s when Pearl Harbor happened and her family was sent to an interment camp. To have gone through all that and still been able to express such a sweetness and joy about a multicultural world is exceptional. All her books exude such a calm sense of peace and harmony.

In her New York Times obituary, Gyo is quoted as saying, "In all my books (except for the fairy-tale books) there are very few grown-ups... I am flattered when people ask me how I know so much about how children think and feel. Although I have never had children of my own, and cannot say I had a particularly marvelous childhood, perhaps I can say I am still like a child myself. Part of me, I guess, never grew up."

Thank goodness for that.

Also by:
A Child's Garden of Verses
A Child's Book of Poems
Let's Grow a Garden
Baby Animals
Oh, What a Busy Day!
Our Best Friends
Fairy Tales and Fables
Come Follow Me
The Night Before Christmas


Read along on Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy

Monday, July 2, 2012

Great Monday Give: Mystery Ten-Title Grab Bag

A little late in the day for the Great Monday Give, I know, but better late than never, yes? This week, I've decided to clean house and give away a grab bag of at least ten fabulous vintage children's books. The books will be generously picked and awesome and guaranteed previously loved, not just by my child, but potentially by generations of children before him. You can't beat a promise like that!

All you have to do to be entered to win is comment on this post between now and July 8, Sunday at 11:59 CT PM. A winner will be selected at random and announced the next morning.

And now for the winner of last week's give of a copy of There's a Nightmare in My Closet, please send warm congrats to Danzel... Congrats and send me your mailing info to webe(at)soon(dot)com.

That's all for now, kids!


Read along on Instagram, Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy.

Ivan, Divan, and Zariman

Ivan, Divan, and Zariman
Marta Koci ~ Parents' Magazine Press, 1973

Still lingering in the 1970s here, I can't help but be drawn to anything published during the time I would have been likely to discover it as a child. (Thus why - since the beginning of summer - my son has had to sit through The Explorers, The Goonies, and even an edited and truncated version of Stand by Me - do you have any idea how difficult it is to censor the cussing in that movie? Whew.)

Enter a book I never knew as a child, but am sure would have crushed me if I'd gotten hold of it at an impressionable age. Depressingly sweet, if your child has any empathy at all, they'll weep buckets during a melancholy read like this.

Here is a house.
Its name is Number 140.
And here comes the little boy who lives in it.
His name is Ivan.
Ivan is going up the stairs into the attic.
The attic is his favorite room,
because it is full of all sorts of things
that nobody has any use for anymore --
nobody except Ivan.

The story of a boy and his best friends, Divan the sofa and Zariman the mouse, we experience the wonder and magic of having a secret place all your own to escape to. However, in a twist similar to The Velveteen Rabbit as well as the recent movie hit in our house, Kooky, Ivan arrives home one day to find a truck from the local dump loading up his hidden friends.

When the child runs away to find them, he is crushed to discover Divan has been, well, crushed, and it is up to Ivan and the mouse to continue on alone. And that's basically the end. Nice, right? Underlying themes of death, loss and memory trundle through these pages that, despite the tragic end, do manage to find solace in the remembering.

All bitter-sweetness aside, can I get a high five on the colors in this book? The burnt orange of that old stained coach is marvelous.


Read along on Instagram, Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...